MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: This is a habit that should be nipped in the bud straight away.
This type of behaviour can lead to gun dogs fighting over birds in the shooting field and we don’t want that.
This could also scare the other spaniels in two ways.
Firstly, should a dominant and possessive gun dog keep stealing the reward from another gun dog it could cause the other less dominant gun dogs to refuse to retrieve altogether.
And secondly, which is even worse, if a gun dog feels threatened by another gun dog which steals its retrieves it could start gripping things much tighter and this can be the start of a gun dog becoming hard-mouthed.
It is very important that you do not spoil this young gun dog’s urge to please and you must not reprimand her for stealing the ball from the other two.
The simple solution is not to do any retrieving exercises when the other gun dogs are around.
All retrieving must be taught separately at the beginning.
Group play training is good for young gun dogs socially up to an age of five to six months.
However, when formal training starts you should concentrate on one gun dog at a time this way you get the best results.